After months of anti-Israel rhetoric from SEIU officers, employees, and affiliates, the union released a carefully worded statement condemning violence on both sides of the Israel/Palestine conflict and called for a ceasefire.
This recent statement is a far-cry from SEIU President Mary Kay Henry’s initial social media post that failed to condemn Hamas’ terrorist attack. This more recent statement may strike a more even tone, but it doesn’t seem to reflect the true sentiments of hundreds of SEIU leaders across the country.
Controversy around the terrorist attack first arose at the SEIU when the union’s former Connecticut executive director – Kooper Caraway – was forced to resign after claiming “our enemies are not in Gaza, our comrades are in Gaza” just days after the murders of over 1,200 Israelis.
The incident with Caraway took place just as SEIU’s affiliate union – Starbucks Workers United– began to draw heat for celebrating the attacks on social media.
As the war continued, anti-Israel sentiment at the SEIU kept building. A month following the terrorist attack, more than 500 officers and employees of the SEIU came together under a petition titled “Purple Up 4 Palestine” to demand the union call for President Joe Biden to stop arming Israel and to begin supporting the anti-semitic boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement (BDS).
One of the most notable names to show up on the list is Larry Alcoff, the SEIU’s lead negotiator. Alcoff appeared at a Palestinian rally in New York on Oct. 28, 2023, with his wife and son (Larry’s son, Joseph, is a known communist and Antifa leader). His wife was wearing a sticker that read, “Zionist donors and trustees, hands off our universities.”
Unfortunately, the anti-Israel attitude of SEIU officials is not just relegated to the East Coast.
In California, John Beynon — who is listed as an officer of SEIU Local 1983 on the petition — retweeted accounts accusing Israel of genocide and has even re-posted a BDS account that called Hamas terrorists the “armed resistance.”
Jonah Paul — a self-described officer of the SEIU 1000 out of California — also defended the Palestinian cause in the wake of the Hamas terrorist attack. Paul vocally critiqued an X Post for calling out Hamas terrorism and claimed that he is an advocate of a “free Palestine” and not just when “it is convenient.”
Purple up 4 Palestine also has an official Instagram account where slogans like “Stand Against Genocide” and “Hands off Yemen” are routinely used. The account is followed by the official Instagram pages for the SEIU Local 140 (SEIU 503, Portland), SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, Nurse Alliance of SEIU California, and SEIU Local 121RN (Southern California).
Despite the national union’s recent call for peace, the mounting evidence showing the SEIU has routinely sided against Israel since the early days of the terrorist attacks is damning.